- Senator Dino Melaye has reacted to his arrest by the police
- Melaye was reported to have jumped off police van on Tuesday, April 24 when he was being taken to Kogi state
- The senator's media aide, Gideon Ayodele, said Melaye did not deserve to be forcibly taken to Kogi state to stand trial in a slew of criminal indictments
The senator representing Kogi state west at the Senate, Dino Melaye, has explained the events leading to his reported escape from a moving police vehicle that landed him in a hospital in Abuja on Tuesday, April 24.
Premium Times reports that in a statement signed by Melaye's media aide, Gideon Ayodele, on Wednesday, April 25, said the senator voluntarily submitted himself to the police and, therefore, did not deserve to be forcibly taken to Kogi state to stand trial in a slew of criminal indictments that include murder and armed robbery.
Legit.ng gathered that Ayodele said: “Earlier in the morning, Senator Dino Melaye as a law-abiding citizen voluntarily submitted himself to the operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) who had laid siege to his private residence since around 3.35pm of Monday, April 23.
“He, along with his lawyers and personal aides, was driven in his private car to the SARS office in Guzape district of Abuja, sandwiched among the numerous police vehicles earlier deployed to his house."
"But shortly after Melaye entered the police custody in Abuja, officers dragged him in a vehicle and headed towards Lokoja, the Kogi state capital which also falls under his Kogi west senatorial district.
"Melaye feared that his life would be in danger if taken to Lokoja, amongst other alleged sinister motives of both the police and the state government there.
"The senator also refused to go to Lokoja because he had previously secured a court relief for the case to be moved to Abuja.
“The public will vividly recall that this same case involving Senator Dino Melaye had already been transferred to Abuja by the Chief Justice of the Federal High Court after Senator Melaye expressed worry about his safety in Lokoja.
"Now, the question is why will they want to forcefully take him to Lokoja? The Senator believes they are doing the Kogi Governor’s bidding in order to assassinate him.”
The aide said the police have never written to Melaye contrary to their claims in the media.
“For the avoidance of doubt, he had never evaded police invitation before now because there was none extended to him in the first place. Rather, what the Police FPRO, Jimoh Moshood, had been doing was to summon the Senator through media briefings, a practice which is unconventional,” he said.
While it wasn’t clear whether or not the police wrote to Melaye as a person, Premium Times reported last month that the police wrote to Senate President Bukola Saraki requesting for permission to grill Melaye over the criminal cases allegedly linked to him.
The police had explained that they wrote to Saraki and the Clerk of the National Assembly for permission to interrogate Melaye after some arrested criminal suspects named the senator their financier and armed supplier.
The police accused Melaye of frustrating all attempts to get him in for interrogation, although the senator denied this and all other criminal allegations against him.
After some of the suspects escaped from police custody, the police launched a nationwide manhunt and added Melaye amongst the suspects who were at large.
The police also said Melaye and other suspects had been placed on the Interpol red alert, but Interpol later distanced itself from the claim and said Melaye would not be placed on its watch list because of the political undertone of his case.
Ayodele said family members and political associates of the senator are traumatised by his ordeal. He also said his principal did not jump out of a moving police vehicle as reported in the media based on witnesses’ accounts.
But he failed to say how Melaye managed to escape from the police vehicle before he started writhing on the ground as captured in viral videos.
The police’s account was that Melaye escaped through the window of their vehicle, but this was readily disputed considering that the senator is over six-feet tall and by every account quite a large individual.
Melaye had been at the hospital since Tuesday, April 24, although the police said they have re-arrested and planned to take him to Lokoja to stand trial.
Ayodele said the scene created on Tuesday was “a last resort by Senator Dino Melaye in order foil attempt to kidnap him and kill him by agents of Kogi state governor in connivance with the police.”
PAY ATTENTION: Read the news on Nigeria’s #1 news app
Although Kogi state Governor Yahaya Bello and Melaye have been in bitter political rivalry in the state, the governor strongly denied involvement in the criminal allegations the police slammed on the senator.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that the Nigerian police have explained how embattled senator, Dino Melaye, escaped from police custody and how he was rearrested immediately.
Kogi West senatorial district to recall senator Dino Melaye from the Nigerian Senate - on Legit.ng TV